Corrections is the title of a radio drama and soon-to-be podcast that was written, performed and recorded at the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, AL. The project has its roots in a prison lecture series coordinated by the Office of Service Learning at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). It was funded by the UAB School of Public Health and personal donations through the UAB Crowdfunding office.
In all, over 20 inmates worked with three faculty members and two doctoral students to write and perform in the eight-episode series. The series focuses on health issues within the prison such as tuberculosis and hepatitis C. Listeners hear how to prevent these problems as well as how to take care of them if infected. The health messages are embedded within a story with several intertwined storylines about inmates, corrections officers, and the conflicts that arise.
The drama was broadcast by a local radio station, WJLD AM 1400 in Birmingham, AL from October to December 2016. On the radio it was hosted by a former inmate and a social worker employed by the Department of Corrections. Each episode was introduced by the hosts, then played. Following the episode, the hosts conversed about what happened in the story and invited callers to join in. This also gives families a chance to say hello to their loved ones inside the facility.
Prisoners report an increase in self-esteem and health knowledge after participating in the project. They hope that a second season will be produced and broadcast. Future activities will include outreach to inmates who did not participate in the first season.
Location: Birmingham, AL, USA